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Cadillac aims small

Date: 22 August 2008   |   Author:

Cadillac has refocused its corporate aims as General Motors continues attempting to establish the American prestige brand in the UK.

"We've narrowed down our fleet marketing, targeting small leasing companies and brokers - no big corporation and no daily rental," Cadillac UK boss Jonathan Nash told BusinessCar. "Will we get on blue-chip client lists? Probably not. But can we lease a CTS to an entrepreneur? Yes."

Nash admitted there's still too much work to be done with the residual value providers to become a serious player on large fleet choice lists.

"The guides remain to be convinced, but if you've got something different that people want to buy then you're there," he said, emphasising the focus on smaller fleets and company bosses looking for something different to the normal German, Jaguar or Lexus premium badges.

A full-scale assault on the corporate market is going to have to wait until the brand is established. "If the CTS goes well then there will be confidence, but if not then we've got a long journey," he said.

Nash is also looking to use Cadillac's position of low volume as a positive: "If you're small you can outperform the market on a one-to-one basis. The goal is for a better service experience than Jaguar."

The new CTS will launch with 2.8- and 3.6-litre petrol engines, with a wait of up to 12 months for an all-new 2.9-litre diesel with around 250PS of power and 200g/km of emissions. Following within a year of the diesel are estate and coupe versions of the CTS, while the Saab 9-3-based BLS will live on until "at least" 2011, with a rear wheel-drive replacement, sharing underpinnings with different GM products, scheduled for 2011 or 2012.

Nash said the current BLS "needs some explaining" to the corporate sector, as the tactic of loading the car with standard kit doesn't create a low P11D figure or lease rate that's appealing to fleet.

Overall, Nash is looking for around 450 units this year, one-third of which will be corporate money. That splits into 150 BLS, 100 of the new CTS and another 100 split between the STS executive saloon, SRX off-roader and the huge Escalade 4x4.

As UK operations manager Steve Catlin said: "We expect to sell hundreds not thousands - we're an exclusive credible alternative in the premium car market."